Turkish authorities released the identity of a suicide bomber on Wednesday who killed 32 youth activists and injured more than 100 people in the town of Suruc earlier this week. Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz, a Turk with links to Islamic State militants, targeted students and members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations demonstrating in the town bordering Syria.
Activists with the leftist group had gathered at a local cultural center on Monday afternoon to show support for civilians impacted by the Syrian civil war. They planned on entering Syria to give toys to Syrian children and help rebuild the town of Kobane, just a few miles away.
Crowds gather at a funeral for some of the victims. (Photo: The Independent UK)
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised to increase security along the Syrian border following public outcries that his government has ignored the threat of Islamic State terrorists. Government reports have indicated the attack is retaliation for Turkey’s militaristic presence along their border and that up to 600 IS militants may have already infiltrated the country.
Ankara’s failure to address the increased number of IS members and sympathizers conducting covert operations in Turkey spurred protests. In Istanbul, anti-Islamic State demonstrators clashed with police, who used tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.
Meanwhile, across the border, Kobane is still beset with the effects of the winter’s fighting and in desperate need of assistance. Up to 35,000 refugees have returned to their homes, according to Turkish officials. However, with whole neighborhoods of the town leveled by U.S. airstrikes, civilians are struggling to rebuild. Some elements of the Islamic State, disguised as Kurdish soldiers, have also reportedly returned, setting off a car bomb in June that killed 25 people.